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Golf Australia Express : Issue 40—The US Open
R ARELY DOES A PAR-5 PLAY over par. But then the 16th hole at the Olympic Club is unique. The USGA has extended the tough par-5 from 609 yards—as it played at the 1998 US Open—to a whopping 670 yards, making this certain three-shotter the longest hole in US Open history, outdistancing the 667-yard 12th at Oakmont Country Club in 2007. And according to USGA executive director Mike Davis, there’s method to this madness. “We have made it longer and one of the reasons we did that is we have felt like we wanted at least two of the four days of the championship to really ensure that this is a three-shot hole,” he said. “If you miss one of those shots it’s going to be hard to pick up or recover from that shot. So I think that it will really test their will.” But the players would agree the hole—which ranked the most difficult par-5 on the PGA Tour in 1998—was already tough enough. Five-time US Open runner up Phil Mickelson is yet to use a wedge for his third shot into the green after four practice rounds. “You play 15 holes of really tough, tough golf,” Mickelson said. “And you finally get your first par-5 and it’s the toughest hole on the course. “I think 16 will play more over par stroke average than any hole on the course. That would be my prediction.” US Masters champ Bubba Watson agrees. “You can’t reach that hole in two,” the Tour’s longest driver said. “I don’t know why it needs to be 670 [yards] with the deepest rough of the golf course. There’s going to be people that don’t get there in three because they hit it in the rough and the lie is bad.” With just four of the 102 par-5s played on Tour this season playing over par, it looks like the USGA will get its way this week at Olympic to make that number five. OTG Moving Up: Year Distance Stroke Average 2012 670 yards (612m) ? 1998 609 yards (556m) 5.25 THE OLYMPIC CLUB HOLE 16 NUMBERS DON’T LIE... STAT THE